Féach is a Support Group for Parents of Blind and visually impaired Children

Making the switch – Moving from Large Print books to Digital

Ideally all visually impaired students should switch from large print books to digital books in primary school. Why?

 

Simply put large print books are too large in senior school. One book can have up to 15/16 volumes. If you multiply that by the number of books on the book list for 1st year alone, a student may have 50-70 books to juggle. Often the won’t even fit in one locker!

 

Luckily for this generation of students technology offers them a solution; the books can be ordered in digital format and viewed on their lap top. This solves the locker problem, the volume problem, the logistic problem and the sore back problem from a massively overloaded school bag.

 

However it is important that this change over from large print books to digital books happen as early as possible, ideally in primary school. This ensures that student can learn the skills necessary to navigate a digital book, use the laptop effectively and become an independent learner, before they have the pressure of adjusting to senior school and all the extra challenges that transition involves. The following is a list of goals that should be incorporated into every visually impaired student’s syllabus in primary school. These goals can be worked on during the student’s Resource hours.*

 

  • Know how to use various computer packages on laptop such as zoom, jaws, Word, PowerPoint.
  • Know how to independently set up and pack away laptop and camera quickly and efficiently.
  • Understand how to read a time table and navigate around a school using a dummy timetable
  • Know how to focus the laptop camera on the board, take a photo of notes and store them and retrieve them when required.
  • Switch from large print books to digital books

 

These skills will equip them for learning in senior school, leaving them free to concentrate on adapting and adjusting to their new environment without having to worry about learning new technology.


Digital books are available from the National Braille Production Centre so talk to your visiting teacher about making the switch in primary school. Some educational publishers such as Folens will make their books available on digital format for visually impaired students. If you would like to apply for these please email us and we will send you out the relevant forms. If you wish to get some books scanned yourself there are some independent companies which will do this for a fee.

 

With technology changing it is important to change with it and to be prepared. In most other European countries visually impaired students would make the switch to digital books and use their laptop from a very early age, in Ireland there is still a huge reliance on large print books which in the long run is counter productive


*All Blind/Visually Impaired students are entitled to 2 hours 40 minutes resource teaching every week. 

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